Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

What Is Bush's Real Goal in Iraq?

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

What Is Bush's Real Goal in Iraq?

Article excerpt

Our most urgent challenge in Iraq is convincing the insurgents that we will pack and leave once a directly elected government is installed. Distrust of U.S. intentions is the root cause of the bloody rebellion that seems to gain strength each month. Is the Bush administration honest in stating that its objective is a stable, democratic Iraq? Or is that just a cover for permanent military bases that will enable the U.S. government to dominate Iraq far into the future?

Here are a few of the reasons why Iraqis distrust U.S. intentions:

* Headlines and newscasts are replete with forecasts by administration officials that U.S. troops will be needed in Iraq for years.

* "Neocons" in the Defense Department long ago urged an invasion of Iraq as a step toward U.S. control of the Middle East. Retired U.S. General Anthony Zinni, former chief of the U.S. Central Command, publicly stated recently that "everyone" in Washington knows that oil and Israel are the real reasons for the war.

* Beginning with the thunderous, devastating "shock and awe" opening round, U.S. military assaults have left over 100,000 Iraqi civilians dead, with other thousands wounded and/or homeless, and vast areas, including the great historic city of Fallujah, in ruins.

* No serious shakeup or reprimand in high places followed the disclosure of U.S. torture and humiliation of detainees.

* Administration officials handpicked the interim Iraqi government in its entirely. The prime minister, Ayad Allawi, resided for a long period in the United States, had close links with the CIA, and earlier was a close colleague of Saddam Hussain, once serving as the dictator's hatchet man in Europe.

* At the end of the 1991 Gulf war, the U.S. government urged the Iraqis to overthrow Saddam. This prompted a strong uprising, but the U.S. government refused to provide support in any form. This refusal prompted Saddam to use helicopter gun-ships to slaughter dissidents by the hundreds.

* For a decade after the Gulf war, U.S. fighter planes enforced severe sanctions that led to immense civilian suffering, including the death of at least a half-million Iraqi infants.

* In the 1980s-the height of Saddam's cruel treatment of Kurds and other Iraqi citizens-the U.S. government served as the dictator's silent, uncomplaining partner, helping him battle Iran. …

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